Pressure for climate agreement heats up

2009-12-12 13:56

WHILE world leaders are in the middle of negotiating a global deal

to cut carbon emissions at the UN climate change conference in Copenhagen,

climate change activists held peaceful vigils in Cape Town, Johannesburg and

Durban on Friday to coincide with similar vigils in 130 other countries.

In Cape Town over 60 colourfully attired activists joined the vigil

outside the US Consulate to voice their concern over a lack of commitment to

binding emissions targets.

Organised by the Wildlife and Environmental Society of South Africa

(Wessa) and, the vigils marked the mid-point of the climate change


Wessa head of environmental education and training, Patrick

Dowling, said the lack of commitment evinced by developed countries in agreeing

to binding carbon emission targets during the first half of the Copenhagen

talks, was cause for global concern.

Climate change activists are calling for:

  • legally binding carbon (CO2) reduction targets;

  • a minimum 80% reduction in CO2 emissions from 1990 levels by


  • financial help for developing nations so they can reach emissions


  • and a reduction of CO2 levels in the atmosphere to 350 parts per

    million (current levels are at about 388ppm).

Talks so far in Copenhagen indicate developed countries are pushing

to cap carbon levels at 450ppm, but developing countries say that would lead to

disastrous climate change scenarios for African and small island states.

As the US is considered to be one of the largest polluters many

activists believe the onus is on them to lead the way.

Dowling said the US was key to the success of a Copenhagen deal,

but their current emissions reduction target was a “paltry” 3% below 1990


This was “very far away” from the 40% reduction below 1990 levels

science indicates is necessary to avoid catastrophic climate change.

Reacting to the vigil, Public Affairs Officer at the US Consulate,

Nathan Holt, said President Barack Obama “strongly” believed that all nations

had a responsibility to combat climate change.

“We also believe that after months of diplomatic activity there is

progress being made toward a meaningful Copenhagen accord in which all countries

pledge to take action against the global threat of climate change,” said


Holt said a core element of this accord should be a fund to support

adaptation and mitigation in developing countries.

“The United States will pay its fair share of such a fund.

Providing this assistance is an investment in our common security, as no climate

change accord can succeed if it does not help all countries reduce their


Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.